29 March 2015
MotoGP Losail: Qatar Moto3: Masbou snatches win in Losail thriller
Alexis Masbou converted his maiden pole to a win in the season opener, snatching victory at the line over a 12-man leading group in a frantic finish to the Moto3 Qatar Grand Prix at Losail.
Saxoprint RTG rider Alexis Masbou gave everything on the last lap of the Qatar Moto3 Grand Prix in a race which was wide open, pushing through the field before driving hard past Enea Bastianini as the finish line approached.
The Frenchman, who had had a great start to his 141st Grand Prix after securing pole, completed a great weekend by achieving his second career win, leading an all Honda podium finish.
Enea Bastianini could not hold on in the drag to the line, but second was an excellent result for the Gresini rider after starting from 21st on the grid, equalling his best ever race result in second, before breaking his trophy in his excitement at a rostrum finish.
British rider Danny Kent took third for Leopard racing after leading at the midway point, where he pulled off an incredible four-rider slipstream overtake, dropping as low as eighth before staging his comeback.
Times leading up to the Sunday had been tight and this lead to a close race as the lead repeatedly changed hands with the lead group of 12 still in contention in the closing laps, producing some fierce battles for points.
Kent's team-mate Efren Vazquez had lead the start of the last lap but got pushed back in the closing corners for fourth. His old colleague John McPhee completed a great day for the SaxoPrint RTG team as he caught and ploughed through the lead pack on the final laps to claim fifth despite finding it impossible to pass on the straights.
Isaac Vinales brought his Husqvarna Factory Laglisse home in sixth, while Fabio Quartararo finished top rookie for Estrella Galicia 0,0 after hitting the front for the first time in a race with 16 laps to go, later doing so again to be in the battle for the win on the final lap.
Early leader Nico Antonelli finished eighth for Ongeta-Rivacold, fellow Italian Francesco Bagnaia took ninth after pulling off some incredible moves to make up for any lack of power his Mahindra may have, before bashing fairings with Quartararo and running through the astroturf, leaving himself no time to recover.
Brad Binder completed the top ten for Red Bull KTM Ajo after pulling clear of Gresini's Andrea Locatelli in 11th and the second Estrella Galicia bike of rookie Jorge Navarro in 12th.
The remainder of the points went to Karel Hanika (Red Bull KTM Ajo), whose late overtaking pushed him up to 13th, Philipp Oettl (Schedl GP Racing) in 14th and Jorge Martin (Mapfre Mahindra Aspar) in 15th.
Lower down the order the sole female in Qatar made big improvements during the race to finish 22nd on her Husqvarna.
Miguel Oliveira saw his hopes of a race win destroyed when he became a victim of the shunting in corner one, which saw Francesco Bagnaia give the final clip to his Red Bull KTM Ajo
Niklas Ajo didn't last much longer, walking away unhurt from his RBA Racing machine. Also failing to go the distance was Zulfahmi Khairuddin, who was hit by Jules Danilo.
Hiroki Ono also found himself in the gravel after pushing to catch the leading pack, touching the back of Quatararo as he lost control. Remy Gardner and Livio Loi also ended their race weekend early with Romano Fenati the final retirement, returning to the pits after struggling all race.
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